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FG To Build New Medical Centre In Buhari’s Hometown, Few Months To Tenure Expiration



The administration of President Muhammadu Buhari has budgeted N500 million for the establishment of a new federal medical center in Daura, Katsina State, President Buhari’s hometown.

This is contained in the N20.5 trillion 2023 budget proposal presented to the National Assembly by the President earlier in October.

When completed, the hospital will rank Katsina as the only state in Nigeria with two Federal Medical Centres while 15 other states are without such a hospital.

The Federal Medical Centre, Katsina, is one of the existing 22 Federal Medical Centres distributed across the states of the federation and Abuja, the nation’s Federal Capital Territory (FCT).

The distance between Daura and Katsina is said to be 83.6 kilometers, taking about one hour, and seven minutes by road.

While Katsina is billed to have two FMCs, there are 15 other states of the federation that are currently without such a medical center.

But the government has kept mute on the matter, describing it as a policy decision.

FMC Distribution
According to the Federal Ministry of Health, based on the six geopolitical zones, four states of Ogun, Lagos, Ekiti, and Ondo in the South-west region have a federal medical center each, while only Delta and Bayelsa in the South-south region have one each.

Like the South-South region, only two states – Imo and Abia in the South-east have the presence of FMCs while in the North-east, five states – Bauchi, Gombe, Taraba, Yobe, and Adamawa, have a center each.

In the North-central region of the country, Niger, Kogi, Benue, and the FCT have one each, and in the North-west, four states of Kebbi, Jigawa, Zamfara, and Katsina also have one center each. But this may change soon if the new proposal by the President is accepted and another FMC is completed in Mr. Buhari’s hometown of Daura in Katsina State.

The states without FMC include Oyo and Osun in the South-west; Akwa-Ibom, Rivers, Edo, and Cross River in South-south; Anambra, Ebonyi, and Enugu in the South-east; Kano, Kaduna, and Sokoto in North-west; Plateau and Kwara in North-central, and Borno in North-East.

Plan for FMC Daura in top gear
According to Premium Times, Governor Aminu Masari-led administration in the state has declared support for the establishment of the new federal medical center.

The governor has approved that an existing general hospital in the President’s town should be upgraded by the Federal Government to the new FMC. And in addition, the governor announced a donation of 50 hectares of land for the project.

The government has since directed the Katsina State Ministry of Health to liaise with the Ministry of Lands and Surveys to commence the demarcation of the land in Daura as well as the process of issuing the Certificate of Occupancy (CofO) to the Federal Ministry of Health.

More than FMC
Since Mr. Buhari assumed office as the President of Nigeria in 2015, his hometown of Daura has been regarded by many Nigerians as a “construction site” following the growing and an unprecedented number of capital projects located in the town.

In August 2019, the Nigerian government inaugurated the Nigerian Air Force Reference Hospital in the town.

According to Daily Trust, the hospital has equipment for radio-diagnosis, cancer screening, dialysis, laboratory diagnosis, and research, and the President was quoted to have said the hospital would “minimise the need for people to travel to other states and even abroad for health reasons”.

Similarly, in November same year, the Women and Children Hospital, Daura was established in the town by a philanthropist. The effort, the donor was quoted to have said, would reduce maternal and infant mortality.

The Project Manager, Mansor Korfi during the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding on the health facility, stated that the hospital was to be built by Belamaoil Producing Limited “based on the demand of the people of Daura, who were asked to name a particular project to be sited in their area.”

There are other projects including the Transport University and others such as electrification and provision of solar systems, and rehabilitation of the Kongolam-Daura-Kano road.

In fact, more than 13 ongoing projects in the President’s hometown have been allocated more than N200 million in the 2023 budget proposal. They include the establishment of a booster station, the establishment of a Bioresources center, the fabrication of prototype machinery for the production of jute bags and allied products, and the development of an industrial tannery, among others.

The President has consistently emphasized his plans to retire to his hometown after completing his tenure in 2023 to take charge of his “abandoned farm”. Therefore, the turnaround of his hometown may not be unconnected with the retirement plan.

Lowest budget for State House clinic
Meanwhile, for the first time since his election into office, the Aso Rock clinic, otherwise regarded as the State House clinic, is expected to take care of the health of the first family, the family of his deputy, and other officials of the government has received the lowest budgetary allocation.

Commentators have linked this to the President’s end of tenure in 2023, while also arguing that the location of various capital projects in his hometown may be part of his plan to retire to his hometown.

PREMIUM TIMES observed that the State House Clinic for the first time in eight years is getting the lowest allocation of N455,204,236 from the N20.51 trillion 2023 budget proposal.

A breakdown of the allocations shows that in 2015, the clinic got N3.94 billion and N3.87 billion in 2016. This was followed by another allocation of N3.20 billion in 2017 and N1.03 billion in 2018, but reduced to N823.44 million in 2019 and N723 million in 2020.

But in spite of the heavy allocations to the clinic, the President’s wife, Aisha Buhari, had in 2017 criticized its management shortly after her daughter, Zahra reportedly took to her Instagram page to call out the management.

She criticized the then Permanent Secretary of the State House Clinic, Jalal Arabi, for not being able to provide ‘ordinary paracetamol’ in the clinic despite a budget of N3 billion for the provision of drugs to the hospital.

In 2020 and 2021, the sum of N416.6 million and N1.06 billion were budgeted respectively for the construction of the Presidential (VIP) Wing of the State House Clinic, and as of March, the Permanent Secretary, State House, Tijanni Umar, confirmed the money had already been paid in full.

Mr. Umar also disclosed that out of the N20.8 billion allocated for the same project in the 2022 budget, the federal government had paid N8.5 billion, meaning that between 2020 and 2022, at least the sum of N10 billion has been spent on the construction of the Presidential Wing of the State House Clinic.

The huge investment in the State House’s medical facilities has, however, not stopped the President from his frequent trips to the United Kingdom for

Expert speaks
The former Director General of the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI), Muda Yusuf, said though the new federal medical centre will serve both the President and the people of Daura community, it is still politically motivated.

Mr Yusuf, now the Chief Executive Officer, Centre for the Promotion of Private Enterprise (CPPE), added that the allocation of money for new projects is mostly designed to achieve some particular political interests.

He said: “Obviously allocation of money for some projects is mostly politically influenced. This is not restricted to the federal level, it also happens at the state level. Projects are mostly designed to suit some particular political interests.

“At the National Assembly, most legislators try to influence projects for their constituents. A university was also established in former President Jonathan’s village. These are decisions that are politically driven.

“The establishment of a new medical centre in Daura is not a coincidence, it was deliberate, although I see it as a way to serve the people of Daura and not the president alone”.

Govt keeps mum
The government has declined comment on the development, describing it as a policy decision.

The Deputy Director, Media and Public Relations, Federal Ministry of Health, Ahmadu Chindaya, declined to speak on the matter in a terse response to PREMIUM TIMES’s reporter’s message after many calls to his telephone line were unanswered.

The official, who rather volunteered to link up to a director in charge of policies at the ministry, however, noted such would not be feasible immediately.

He said: “We are holding National Council on Health. It started yesterday running to Friday. So you can’t meet me on the seat.”


Credit: Premium Times


NNPCL, Chinese Firm Sign MoU To Develop Floating LNG Project



The Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC) Limited and the Chinese company Wison Heavy Industry Co. Ltd have inked a memorandum of understanding (MoU) for the development of a floating LNG project in Nigeria.

The agreement was inked during the ongoing United Nations climate change conference (COP28) by NNPC and Wison Heavy Industry.

Olufemi Soneye, the NNPC’s chief corporate communications officer, revealed this in a statement on Wednesday.

Soneye said the floating LNG MoU was signed by Olalekan Ogunleye, executive vice president, gas, power and new energy, on behalf of NNPC and Kai Xu, managing director of Wison Heavy.

In the statement, both parties agreed to work together to chart a roadmap for the project development that will lead to an investment decision.

NNPC said the LNG project will target the international market.

Also, Soneye said a supply, installation and commissioning agreement was signed by NNPC Prime LNG Limited, an arm of NNPC Trading Limited, and SDP Services, an independent oil and gas company, for a 421 tonnes per day LNG project targeting the domestic LNG market.

The small-scale LNG (SSLNG) project agreement was signed by Lawal Sade, the managing director, NNPC Trading Limited, on behalf of NNPC Prime LNG. and Abhinav Modi, managing director of SDP Services.

He said the SSLNG project will ensure the efficient supply of LNG to the autogas and compressed natural gas (CNG) and industrial as well as commercial customers nationwide.

The LNG project, which will be located at Ajaokuta in Kogi state, is expected to be operational by December 2024.

After the signing ceremony, Ogunleye said NNPC is committed to delivering gas to industries nationwide and accelerating the company’s gas commercialisation efforts through the floating LNG project.

Ogunleye said: “We see both projects as having enormous impact all over the country because they are central to the commercialisation of Nigeria’s abundant gas resources and ensuring that our country earns the much-needed foreign revenue from its abundant gas assets.”

“It is also consistent with NNPC Management’s drive to deliver on Mr. President’s gas and power aspirations across the country.”

Speaking on the SSLNG project, Sade said it will boost the domestication of LNG utilisation by supporting the growth of auto-gas initiatives across the country.

“We are looking at a timeframe of 12 months from execution to the commissioning of the project. The project will deliver about 420 tonnes per day of LNG per day into the domestic market, which will enhance efficient delivery of gas to the auto-gas/CNG and industrial customers in line with Presidential mandate,” she said.

The partners, according to Soneye, have pledged to work with NNPC to deliver the projects within schedule and in the most cost-effective manner.

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Lagos Doctor Femi Olaleye Asks Appeal Court To Dismiss His Rape Conviction



Femi Olaleye, managing director of Optimal Cancer Care Foundation, has approached the appeal court over the judgment convicting him of rape.

Recall that Olaleye, in October, was sentenced to life imprisonment for raping his wife’s niece.

Rahman Oshodi, the judge at the special offences and domestic violence court in Lagos, convicted Olaleye on a two-count charge of defilement of a child and sexual assault by penetration.

The judge ruled that the defendant should serve life imprisonment for count one and the same for count two.

The judge said the sentencing should run concurrently.

  • The Grounds Of Appeal

In the appeal filed on November 24 at the appellate court in Lagos, the medical doctor through Kemi Pinheiro, his lawyer, highlighted 35 grounds of appeal against the judgment of the lower court.

The appellant argued that the lower court erred in its conclusion that the alleged survivor was a child of 16 at the time of the incident, adding that the prosecution did not provide documentary evidence to support the age of the alleged survivor.

The appellant said the prosecution team should have provided the birth certificate of the alleged survivor to prove the age.

The appellant said the testimony of the alleged survivor was riddled with inconsistencies, contrary to the submission of the lower court.

He said the alleged survivor did not make a rape accusation before the police, who interviewed her when the alleged events were still very fresh in her memory.

He added that it was four months after the alleged event that she made the rape accusation.

The appellant argued that the lower court should not have relied on the evidence of Oyebimpe Akinbunmi, the medical expert from Mirabel centre, adding that the examination of the alleged survivor was carried out four months after the alleged rape incident.

“Even though the offences were alleged to have occurred between 2020 and 2021, the medical certificate issued by PW5 clearly showed that the alleged survivor was being examined in respect of a sexual assault that occurred in March, 2022,” the appellant was quoted as saying by NAN.

“In the face of this material contradiction, it was wrong of the court to have held that the evidence of PW5 corroborated that of the alleged survivor.

“Since the outcome of PW5’s examination did not indict the appellant, the finding of the court is erroneous and ought not to be sustained.”

The appellant asked the court to set aside the conviction and quash the sentencing.

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Pay Workers New Minimum Wage Before Christmas — Oshiomole To Employers



Adams Oshiomhole, the Senator representing Edo North Senatorial District has urged the public and private sectors to pay staffers the new minimum wage of N35,000 before Christmas.

The former National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress cautioned that there would be no Christmas festivities if workers were not paid the new minimum wage.

Oshiomhole, a former Governor of Edo State said this on Tuesday at the 8th Quadrennial Delegates Conference of the Non-Academics Staff Union of Educational and Associated Institutions in Abuja.

He said, “Now that you have N35,000, there are workers from different states. Are all the state governments implementing it? The answer is no. Why should it be no, and why are they at peace? Your members are not at peace in the States.

He added that the new minimum wage cut across all work sectors in the country.

“It should not be a selective application. The N35,000 must affect all workers. It has to go around all workers in Nigeria, whether public or private, that is the logic of nationwide strike.

“Please tell the NLC President that those are the issues that they must solve so that this December, nobody goes home without that N35,000.

“Whether such a worker is working for the federal, state, local government or the private sector, that N35,000 must be paid. If you don’t pay, there will be no Christmas for you as an employer whether public or private sector.”

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